Current Executive Board
President: Cosette Schneider
Secretary: Patricia Erickson, MPH
Treasurer: Nina Rajpurohit
Director of Membership: Kexin Wang
Directors of Programs: Jessica Semel, M.S.
Director of Social Media & Webmaster: Obianuju Okonkwo
Director of Sponsorship: Shannon Speed, Ph.D.
Cosette Schneider is a graduate student at the University of Maryland, Baltimore, where she is pursuing her PhD in Molecular Microbiology and Immunology. Cosette's research interests include infectious disease, vaccinology, and protein chemistry. Her thesis research in the lab of Dr. Lynda Coughlan aims to investigate neuraminidase as a universal influenza vaccine target antigen. Prior to joining University of Maryland, Cosette received her Bachelor's from Luther College in Biology and spent two years at the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research developing mRNA and nanoparticle vaccines for malaria. Cosette is passionate about improving scientific literacy in her community and cultivating enthusiasm for STEM among young women, especially from underrepresented communities. In her free time, Cosette can be found volunteering at the Maryland Science Center or at the dog park with her golden retriever.
Patricia Erickson is a PhD candidate at the University at Maryland, Baltimore, where she is pursuing a PhD in Epidemiology. Her research focuses on cancer epidemiology and her dissertation is focused on pesticide exposures and cancer risk. Outside of research, you can find Patricia running (usually training for a marathon) or in the kitchen, testing out new recipes. She is relatively new to AWIS but is looking forward to becoming more involved and connecting with more women in STEM.
DIRECTOR OF SPONSORSHIP
DIRECTOR OF MEMBERSHIP
DIRECTOR OF PROGRAMS
Jessica Semel is a ScM in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at Johns Hopkins University in the Bloomberg School of Public Health. Her research focuses on the cardiac intermediate filament, desmin, and its modification during different cardiac diseases. Prior to her masters and moving to Baltimore, she completed her bachelors at Stony Brook University and was involved in research focusing on molecularly imprinted biosensors, cancer cell migration, and evolutionary divergence of hoary bat subspecies. She recently became involved in AWIS but hopes to become more involved in the community and to inspire younger generations to explore a future career in science.
DIRECTOR OF SOCIAL MEDIA
Obianuju Okonkwo is a current masters of public health candidate at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health where she will graduate with a customized concentration in health policy. She started her clinical research career at Children’s National Medical Center (CNMC) in Palliative Care Research for the Translational Science Department. She went on to be a research coordinator at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine in the Women’s Center GYN subspecialties. She is now a research specialist in Cardiac Surgery at University of Maryland, Baltimore School of Medicine. Her primary trials are tricuspid and mitral valve replacement and cardiac xenotransplantation. In addition to these trials, she supervises a small team of research coordinators and assistants in the implementation and coordination of 56 other trials. After graduation, she will further her education and career by pursuing a MD or MD/PhD in Health Policy. She hopes serving as Director of Social Media for AWIS will allow her to connect other women in STEM to not only expand their career opportunities but create a community of like minded individuals that can be a safe space. Connect with her on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/obianuju-c-okonkwo